CONTINUING PERSECUTION OF BELIEVERS IN YESHUA:
We have written several times in the Maoz Israel Report concerning the persecution of believers - the most recent occuring in the southern towns of Arad and Beersheva. Harassment of Jewish believers in Israel has been on-going throughout the 39 years I have lived in Israel. It has been the policy of the Ministry of Interior to refuse Jews who believe in Yeshua as Messiah the privilege granted to all Jews that of immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return. In the past, the ultra-Orthodox went to great lengths in America to check into the lives of candidates for immigration, searching specifically for believers in Yeshua in order to prevent them from entering and living in Israel.
Ultra-Orthodox demonstrate in mass against Messianic Jews
worshipping in their Beersheva Congregation
However, since the Bible explicitly promises many times over that Jews who are serving God with a new heart will be brought back to the home of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, these Orthodox policies will be overturned (as has already begun). Over the years, the Lord has helped His Jewish believers and will continue to help them circumvent these unjust practices. Just as the British government kept Jews from immigrating to Israel during and after World War II, so has the Orthodox establishment kept Messianic Jews from immigrating to Israel since the founding of the State of Israel.
Nevertheless, even during the British mandate, a continuous stream of Jews landed in Israel, evading the British army. Also, though the Orthodox have made extreme attempts to keep Messianic Jews out of Israel, many believers have managed to gain their citizenship over the years; those who have obtained it can tell you how God miraculously helped them through the bureaucratic dragnet. A promise is a promise, and God is known for keeping all of His!
…[when] you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul…the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed…and He will prosper you and multiply you….Deut. 30:2, 5
This is a promise that has encouraged many Messianic Jewish immigrants to fight for their citizenship and win, and their presence in the land is a witness to the many victories.
Nevertheless, many Messianic Jews have been turned away from the shores of Israel by the Orthodox-run Ministry of Interior. In the last few years, the secular majority of Israel grew sick of the control the Orthodox wielded over the entire nation in many areas of civilian life, and the Orthodox were pushed out of the Ministry of Interior and over time, the restraints have begun to loosen up. Indeed, there is little doubt that in the last three years, the Messianic Jews have grown in strength in the land. There are several reasons for this:
1. Our numbers are increasing. Congregations are springing up and a number have acquired permanent buildings.
2. There is a growing number of Israeli soldiers who are Messianic Jews and a number of born-again Christians and they have a reputation for excellency. Some of them serve in important positions and the army is aware of their worth.
3. Secular Israelis are ever more tolerant of Messianic Jews especially the younger generation.
4. Slowly but surely, Israeli believers are gaining better employment, opening up businesses and prospering financially.
5. And as we mentioned, the Orthodox have lost power in the government.
At the present time, the strongest concerted persecution is still being carried out in the south of Israel by the Gur Hassidim ultra-Orthodox sect. There are several thousand of them living in Arad; they attend their yeshivot (Talmudic schools) and do no work. They live off of government dole and donations a percentage of which comes from Christian organizations. Therefore, these Gur Hassidim have much time on their hands and they have continued to intensify their harassment against the small number of believers in the south of Israel.
They persist in publicly haranguing the believers whenever and wherever they see them, engaging in the most repulsive blasphemy against them and the Messiah. This type of revulsion and hatred has the same agonizing taint to it as was exhibited by Nazi-influenced Europeans before Hitler took power.
Since the Scriptures emphasize that God “forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished,” (Ex. 34:7) the Israeli people must be shown how to seek God’s forgiveness of their sin. Otherwise judgment will surely come.
ULTRA-ORTHODOX THREATEN BELIEVERS IN ARAD
But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. Rom. 2:8-11
The Israeli body of believers needs your prayers for their safety and for their freedom to speak the Word of God to our nation. The Israeli people must have the chance to freely hear the Biblical truths that have been hidden from them by their leaders for so many centuries.
THE SHEPHERDS WHO HAVE NOT FED THE FLOCK:
The six sins that I have listed in this and the last two issues allowing sex slavery trade; making Tel Aviv a world homosexual center; creating a culture of state-paid abortions; mistreating Arab allies from the West Bank and Gaza; implementing suffocating, horrendous laws concerning debt; and persecuting Israeli Messianic Jewish immigrants and citizens are all perpetrated and abetted by the government of Israel, or at least tolerated (as in the sex trade). For that reason, I believe that these sins are more flagrant and injurious and will receive the greater judgment.
BOOMBAMELA NEW AGE 2006 FESTIVAL
The seventh sin, however, has to do with Israel’s religious establishment. The prophet Ezekiel warned the “shepherds of Israel” in his day against lording it over “the scattered sheep of Israel.” Instead of shepherding their people, the religious leaders have dominated the sheep with “force and severity.” (Ezek. 34:4) from that day until now. The prophet addressed them: “Is it too slight a thing. . . that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?” (v.18)
Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ezekiel 34:2
Instead of feeding the lost sheep of Israel the pure Word of God, the rabbinical establishment, especially those sects run by political figures, has fouled the waters with superstition, mysticism and just plain deception. In this last election, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the ultra-Orthodox spiritual mentor (who calls all the shots for his party that won 11 Knesset seats) promised that all who voted for his party would have speedy entry to the Garden of Eden. He further promised that those who didn’t vote for Shas, would have the wrath of God come upon them. He threatened, “It is said…cursed, surely cursed are those who did not come to the aid of God…I rule that you must vote Shas and influence others to do so as well.” (Jerusalem Post, 26Mar2006)
TENT CITY OF 35,000 YOUNG PEOPLE AT BOOMBAMELA FESTIVAL
Note just one symptom of the continuing deterioration of rabbinical philosophy: Kabbalah what used to be an off-brand of mystical Judaism is fast becoming an extremely popular spiritual highway for hungry young Jews (and non-Jews). Receiving its inspirational fountainhead directly from eastern mysticism, it attempts to transcend human limitations and transport its followers into the spirit world. Without the direction of the Holy
Spirit of God, Kabbalah wanders into the preternatural world of evil spirits and “cosmic energy.”
In Israel, Kabbalah is often studied in secret, usually beginning at midnight or in the middle of the night, “scanning” texts by “brushing their eyes over the Hebrew words” to receive revelation from the Zohar, the main kabbalistic text. Tying red strings around their wrists is part of their rituals against the evil eye. New believers who come to the faith need deliverance from superstition and fear of Satan before they are ready to throw away their red strings. Many Israelis carry an “upside down hand” to protect them from the evil eye.
But as for you, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers or your sorcerers who speak to you....Jer. 27:9
Kabbala has many dark sides. It was Kabbalists who cursed Yitzhak Rabin on October 6, 1995 with a “pulsa denura” (lashes of fire) curse, saying: “Angels of destruction will hit him. He is damned wherever he goes. His soul will instantly leave his body…and he will not survive a month…I deliver to you, the angels of wrath and ire…Put to death the cursed Yitzhak....” (worldnetdaily.com 26July06) Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995. This curse was discharged by Orthodox rabbis and practitioners wearing black garb, blowing shofars in synagogues and extinguishing candles.
The Israeli media carried extensive reports of another pulsa denura against Ariel Sharon, instigated by Kabbalists on July 26, 2005. Ten rabbis and Kabbalists assembled at a gravesite near the mystical center of Safed in Galilee. On January 4, 2006, Sharon suffered a massive stroke, which has left him comatose.
Secular Israelis are not frightened by the pulsa denura, as they simply do not believe it has any power no matter the tragic incidents with our two prime ministers. However, many of the religious and traditional Jews are very frightened of these curses and for that reason, when, say, Rabbi Yosef curses those who don’t vote for Shas, it most definitely has an influence on a significant number of people, especially among the poorer classes.
Is it any wonder the Israeli youth are looking elsewhere for LIFE! But where do they turn? By far, most of the multitudes are looking to eastern religions. For several decades, tens of thousands of Israelis have made their way to India and the Far East until these eastern religions have penetrated and permeated the entire youth culture of Israel.
The land is filled with fortune tellers, crystals, séances, gurus, Hari Krishnas and Scientology. (Kabbala itself teaches reincarnation as part of its Jewish dogma.) Meditation and enlightenment are taught as serious courses in universities. Every year, a number of major new age festivals attract youth from every area of society and geographical location in Israel. Last year, the Shantipi festival attracted some 10,000 and this Passover the Boombamela Festival 35,000 youth.
It is not accidental that Boombamela (named after the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela where Hindis wash away their sins in the Ganges River) is held during the Biblical holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Shantipi during Shavuot (Pentecost). At these festivals, drugs and sex mix with the teachings of imported Gurus. The media portrays the festivals as an attempt “to bridge the void between the Israeli secular and Orthodox worlds with new spiritual expressions that transcend the divide.”
During Passover, we went to visit the Boombamela festival on one of the beaches of Israel. As we came over the sand dune, there appeared a city of tents looking rather like the children of Israel in the desert with masses and masses of young people. Hundreds of different groups had their “work shop” tents, and the gurus from India and Israel were all there selling their techniques and ideologies. Bookstores and New Age prayer tents every kind of idolatrous manifestation imaginable, lined the “streets” of sand. Some attendees were looking for a good time; others were looking for truth. Several of our young people were there witnessing to the youth along side other believers from the National Evangelism Outreach and from Jews for Jesus. Our son-in-law found that by wearing a shirt that said in Hebrew, “Yeshua is Alive,” he had a steady flow of youth seeking him out to ask him about Yeshua. He was absolutely amazed at the response. We are now gearing up to take a group to the three-day Shantipi festival.
In America, young Jews constitute a wildly disproportionate percentage of religious cults; in Israel, spiritual journeys to India have become a virtual rite of passage for young Israelis after army service. One perplexed rabbi lamented that because Judaism had left the spiritual longings of young Jews completely unanswered it had resulted in the loss of this whole generation.
The truth is that Judaism no matter how good much of it is is a legalistic ideology, a religion that has lost its understanding of a personal relation with the Father in Heaven. It is without the power to change one’s heart, without the redeeming sacrifice of Yeshua, our loving King and Messiah. And so it continues to lose its youth to a mix of Eastern religions, the occult and “selected” Jewish ceremonies.
Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. For Thou hast abandoned Thy people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with influences from the east, and they are soothsayers like the Philistines…Isa. 2:5-6
Israel is destined to be a light to the nations, because “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” Lk. 16:17
Israel will be a nation of missionaries spreading the love of the God of Israel manifest by sending His Son....
Israel is to spread the principles of God’s Torah His commandments to love the Lord, to love our neighbor the principles against murder, adultery, covetousness and taking the Lord’s Name in vain values and laws that the world so desperately needs.
What will it take for Israel to turn around, to turn back to the God of Israel, to accept the sacrifice of the King of the Jews? Your prayers and actions are needed to bring restoration and repentance to the hearts of His chosen people. We pray that God Himself will intervene and raise up a generation to cast down the altars of Baal and all that they represent and that the Children of Israel shall “put away the strange gods from among them and serve the Lord.” Judges 10:16
Tent belonging to Evangelism Team where witnessing continued
day and night. During this shavuot we are taking a team from
our congregation to witness to participants at Shantipi
Twenty two of the 28 young people from Congregation Tiferet Yeshua, Tel Aviv, who are scheduled to travel to the U.S. in July to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America Conference. (Two others will be joining us from other congregations.).
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These Israelis will be meeting and sharing with American Jewish believers, and witnessing to Israelis in the U.S. in malls in Philadelphia and New York. Amir, (far right) son of Joseph Haddad, Israeli Arab and pastor of the Lebanese Congregation in northern Israel, is seeking a visa in order to join us.
ALERT: We have just been notified that the American Embassy in Tel Aviv would not issue Amir a visa to visit the U.S., saying that his salary is too low. (He assists his father in the Arab church.) The Haddad family is earnestly praying with us that the embassy will reverse its decision.
PLEASE PRAY WITH US!
FROM THE KING’S COLLEGE AND
SEMINARY SPECTRUM magazine VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1